7 Comments

Dead in the Water: To Support or to Condemn

Remember-Me-Game

An age old question. This time in comes to mind in regard to new cyber punk noir Remember Me. I personally haven’t played it yet, as we aren’t quite big enough for companies like Capcom to decide we should get to play their games early, but the reviews are rolling in and they don’t look good. A lot of people have praised what the story tried to do, while condemning a static world with little to no traversal or exploration, a stale and stilted combat engine, and a camera that can’t decide if it’s an overly attached girlfriend or a scumbag.

As I hear this on the eve of Remember Me’s launch with $60 in store credit sitting on this release, I’m troubled. I sorta want to cancel my pre-order now and put that money elsewhere. I also want to cancel Last of Us, but that’s because Naughty Dog has already confirmed as of two weeks ago that the game will have story related single player DLC, which to me is one of the biggest middle fingers you can give your fan base.

Yeah, I said it.

Ordinarily I don’t let myself be swayed too terribly much by reviews. For example, depending on the website and the reviewer a one star rating from one person might be a five star game to me. But, it’s a little hard to ignore pretty much no one liking the gameplay of Remember Me, which, for an action game is kind of a big deal.

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Also apparently the whole memory scramble thing they tried to capitalize on is a mechanic used few and far between in lieu of fighting legions of faceless cronies instead. Also also apparently you don’t really get to learn many cool moves for your somewhat complicated create-a-combo engine until the second half of the game. Also also also, I guess the boss fights are kinda boring and uninspired?

So, apparently the only thing that really stands out is a stellar story amidst mediocre and broken gameplay. And, the thing is, I’ll look past some pretty awful gameplay for a good story. Mimana Iyar Chronicles for the PSP still remains one of my absolute favorite games that I can recommend to no one, with a combat engine that tried really hard to be Tales Of and fell flat dramatically, and more random encounters than Skies of Arcadia and the entire Wild Arms series combined.

I’ll also look past bad gameplay for an ambitious experience, such as Mindjack or Alpha Protocol. But, I’m not paying for a game that was $40 new and became between $15-$20 a few weeks after launch; I’m paying for a $60 game that has already been confirmed to have more than a few problems by several reviewers whose opinions I value quite a lot. And, the economy is not what it used to be. As a result, I’m finding myself trapped thinking in terms of “$60 for a game that has an 85% to 90% chance of being pretty awful, or $35 down on my Project x Zone pre-order with the remaining $25 going towards my Muramasa pre-order?”

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I’m caught in a moral dilemma though. Y’see, I’m over here always talking about how we’ve got to support smaller studios that are trying something ambitious and new. I’m always on my soap box talking about how the Halo’s and the Call of Duty’s done need our help, and that we need to vote with our dollar if we want more unique franchises out there. Now, this is a considerably harder sell at $60 instead of say, $40, and it’s not as though the studio wasn’t aware their product was in need of some polish…but still…

The dilemma comes down to this: do I buy a game that I already know is pretty much mediocre at best, or do I buy things that I know I’ll enjoy? I’ve played Namco x Bandai, Cross Edge and Super Robot Taisen Frontier…thing… So, I know I’ll enjoy Project x Zone. I beat the living daylights out of Muramasa on the Wii and can’t wait to play the Vita version with its tightened controls, enhanced graphics, revised script and additional content.

And then there’s Remember Me, a new IP with a unique and interesting direction struggling to make enough sales to warrant a sequel with a bigger budget. I dunno man, it’s hard. It’s really, really hard. I love noir, I love punk of any kind (particularly the cyber variety), I love French aesthetics…

I also love not spending $60 on something that I’m going to have to force myself to enjoy.

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Remember Me is due out tomorrow for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles and was created by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. Do you plan on picking it up in spite of some incredibly negative reviews? Comment below! Xeawn, out.

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7 comments on “Dead in the Water: To Support or to Condemn

  1. Economics definitely comes into play regarding spending your hard earned ducats. And if it’s something that you have to force yourself to enjoy – well, I’ve had that same conversation with myself after I forced myself to purchase a graphic novel that I had to grit my teeth to get through. Very astute assessment Mr. Ward.

    • Thank you for your comment! Regardless of the argument I’ve heard many times of “It’s just store credit, it’s no big deal!” I default back to “Store credit is just virtual money that has to be spent at one place. If that store credit is spent on an item you might not particularly enjoy, well, it feels like your trade-ins are wasted.

      I should get the opportunity to test Remember Me at some point tonight thanks to a friend benefiting from an over-zealous Amazon shipment, and will be able to better formulate my opinion there. Ultimately, like in the scenario you mentioned with the graphic novel, a product should stand or fall on its own merits.

      Asura’s Wrath came from a relatively small studio, but did quite well due to its polish and quality. If Remember Me sinks due to poor design decisions, it’s not really on the shoulders of the consumers to carry it in spite of its flaws. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it sounds, as Capcom is pretty cutthroat about any studio that isn’t based in Japan right now, but only time will tell.

  2. It was, but only as a relatively limited release visual novel for the Nintendo DS system called “Mushi-Shi ~Amakudari Sato~”. The game focused more on reading a story and then solving puzzles using the touch screen to draw Mushi and Kanji. Unless you’re fluent in Japanese, not just the spoken language but the written form as well, there’s not a lot of enjoyment to be had.

    Honestly though, when it comes to visual novel direct adaptations of manga or anime, I’ve never understood why you wouldn’t just watch the anime or read the manga instead!

  3. I’m planning on buying it despite some serious misgivings because I remember how Mirror’s Edge was a similarly rough-around-the-edges game that had a lot of potential which could have spawned an incredible sequel that fixed most if not all the things that were wrong in the original… but then EA canned the sequel because the first game sold TERRIBLY and financially they were almost totally justified in doing so.

    I want Remember Me to not be a repeat of that SO MUCH.

    • I can honestly tell you that for the 20 minutes that Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has let me play the game, I’m enjoying it in spite of its flaws.

      I feel like pretty much every major reviewer kinda missed the point of the “stilted” combat. Combat in Remember Me is like a rhythm game; the music fades out when you mess up, but it churns on and swells and rises and falls with your movements. The game rewards you for strategic gameplay and punishes you for the button mashing so many people are used to now.

      When you do well, for instance, a well timed dodge might become an aerial or a butterfly kick, and the slight rhythmic down time between combos becomes a little dance in place like a stylized boxing stance. Well timed combos might even be rewarded with a little giggle from Nilin, whom I appreciate is more about trying to find ways to resolve problems than just hurting people just because.

      You can button mash, but that leads to Nilin’s missteps in combat that made many reviewers feel that it was “stilted”. I haven’t even seen anyone mention the rhythm cues in battle.

      A tip though; play the game in French. The English voice acting, in my opinion, left quite a bit to be desired, and since the world is in Neo France anyways it makes more sense to hear it in French as opposed to everyone being miraculously faux British.

      • Sounds good. I watch my DVD of Phantom of the Opera in French for much the same reasons.

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